Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLXII: Be Here In The Morning

June 8th, 2018

With the Friends album’s 50th anniversary just a few weeks ago, it’s a good time to induct a few more tracks from the album to our pantheon of “hidden beauties.” Be Here In The Morning has one of the highest-pitched vocals on any Beach Boys record -and many fans including myself were surprised to find out that it is not Brian Wilson’s falsetto, but Al Jardine.

As with much of the Friends album, this is a laid-back track extolling the simple joys of life and love, and getting away from the increasing craziness of the world outside.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLXI: Morning Beat

June 1st, 2018

After a short rendition of the title track, this is the first original song on That Lucky Old Sun, and hearkens back to songs like Do It Again with a mostly up-tempo feel but punctuated with a slow section. Changes-of-pace is a hallmark of Brian Wilson’s brilliance and this song shows Brian has lost none of his old tricks. The song paints a compelling landscape of the energy of Los Angeles and features the immortal “Maumamayama Glory Hallelujah” catchphrase.

Taking The Midland Line

May 25th, 2018

I’ve recently covered some great country pop albums by the ladies, so now it’s the turn of the gentlemen. On the recommendation of Jason Brewer of the Explorer’s Club, I explored Midland’s debut album On The Rocks, and I’m impressed. Ostensibly neo-traditionalist country, it is full of catchy and melodic songs that transcend the country genre and move into great pop music.  There are a lot of really strong songs here, but Drinkin’ Problem, Burn Out and Electric Rodeo are some of the standouts.

Pet Sounds 50 ..And 2

May 20th, 2018

Since I last posted, we’ve had Pet Sounds 52nd birthday, taking place while Brian Wilson is still touring the album’s 50th birthday. Here is what I wrote about the greatest album in the universe on it’s golden anniversary. There’s been a wedding that some of you have heard about, and in much more obscure but highly welcome news….after 14 years, a new album from A Girl Called Eddy.

23 Songs For Today

May 14th, 2018

1.  Hard On A Heart-  Ashley Monroe
2.  The Power of Three -Belle and Sebastian
3.  Best Friend -Belle and Sebastian
4.  Bare Feet -Caroline Jones
5. Love Of The Loved -Cilla Black
6, Anniversary Song -Cowboy Junkies
7. Twice As Worth It -Deana Carter
8. So I Could Find My Way -Enya
9. Another Bridge -Everything But The Girl
10. The Lakes of Canada -The Innocence Mission
11. Dirty Computer- Janelle Monáe (feat. Brian Wilson)
12. Space Cowboy -Kacey Musgraves
13. Golden Hour -Kacey Musgraves
14. Out of Reach -Karnataka
15. A Million Tears -Kasey Chambers
16. The Closest Thing To Crazy -Katie Melua
17. I Envy The Wind -Lucinda Williams
18. If I Could -October Project
19. Terribly Sorry -Saint Etienne
20. Fascination -Saint Etienne
21. Montmartre -Sarah Darling
22. Since You’ve Gone -Spanky & Our Gang
23. Walk Your Feet In The Sunshine -The 5th Dimension

Brian’s Back (And The Beach Boys Go Classic)

May 10th, 2018

With the news that Brian Wilson’s back surgery has gone well, we also now have a “new” Beach Boys album on the way. The Beach Boys With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra isn’t really a new album -it is the classic Beach Boys songs with new orchestral overdubs, but has been endorsed by all the living members and it is coming very soon.

Darling Music

May 7th, 2018

They say good things come in threes, so here is a third great pop album from a country lady. This one is a bit older than the Kacey Musgraves and Ashley Monroe records, but it has recently come to my attention. While the title says Dream Country, there is actually quite a wide range of pop styles, with some classic songwriting on tracks like the gorgeous romantic Montmarte, the classic Where Cowboys Ride and a cover of the Smiths Please Please Let Me Get What I Want.  You can order this great record here on her webpage.

Bad Back To Touring

May 2nd, 2018

We’ve been celebrating Brian’s touring record but there has now been a bad break, or rather a bad back. In a message sent out to fans yesterday,Brian indicated he needed surgery for a bad back that has been bugging him for some time (it was quite noticeable for much of the 2012 reunion tour) and the May dates would be postponed. At this stage, his July and later dates are still on. We all wish Brian a quick and painless surgery, and hope that the recovery goes very well.

Brian Cleaning Up Your Computer

April 28th, 2018

And now for something completely different. Brian Wilson is featured artist and backing vocalist on the title track of Janelle Monae’s new album Dirty Computer.  It’s  quite interesting to read how this artist in the world of Rap and R&B is fascinated by Brian and the Beach Boys. The track itself is quite melodic, with Brian’s sunny harmonies a spectral presence in the background, and it certainly honors Brian (who wasn’t involved in writing it). You can hear it here.

Monroe Suede

April 25th, 2018

Like London buses, one good country pop album follows another. Three weeks after the release of Golden Hour comes Ashley Monroe’s new record, Sparrow. Monroe has always been on the neo-traditional side of country music, but here the tradition extends to the countrypolitan sound of Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb. The album is clearly personal, much of it written while she was pregnant with her first son, with titles like She Wakes Me Up and Daddy I Told You. As with Golden Hour, there are even forays into a more disco sound on Hard On A Heart, and the album still has a sultry core with songs like Wild Love and Hands On You. Good pop music may not be topping the world charts, but it is still around, courtesy of these country ladies.